Tips N Tricks e-mail Service — January 21, 2002
Know Exam Questions Before The Exam
It is fairly easy to determine certification exam questions before you step
into the exam booth.
To do so, place yourself in the position of the person who has to come up
with the exam questions in the first place.
Most exam questions can be slotted into one of three categories:
1. The memory questions. These types of questions are straight memorization.
There is little understanding required. It is a regurgitation of facts. For
example, you are told the minimum hardware requirements of an operating system
are X, Y & Z. An exam question of this category would ask a question
relating to these facts.
The question might be straight forward or wrapped in a cloak of detail. For
example, ‘John wants to upgrade to the XXX operating system. He presently has a
Pentium II, 350 mhz computer with 64 MB of RAM and a 6 GB hard disk. His network
card is an NE-2000, 16 bit device. What is John’s challenge?’
The question is really very simple – does his machine comply with the minimum
hardware levels? There is so much extraneous detail that the question becomes
2. The concept question. These types of questions require you to understand a
concept – in the concept’s own environment. For example, a concept question
might ask how routers in the TCP/IP environment communicate changes in their
routing tables. The question requires an understanding of what routing is in the
first place, how routing occurs and what protocol is responsible for doing so.
But notice this question applies the concept in the TCP/IP environment – most
likely the environment you learned about it in the first place.
3. The application question. These types of questions take a concept and
apply it in a different environment than it was first presented. The exam
question is attempting to determine if you know how to apply the concept
An example of this type of question might be, ‘The TCP protocol is to the
TCP/IP protocol suite what ______ is to the IPX/SPX protocol?’ The question is
pushing your understanding of one concept into your understanding of another
The relevance of these three types of questions lies in the understanding
that the person preparing exam questions will inevitably have to use all three
types of questions in determining your competency.
Let us surmise the person preparing the exam questions will end up with 1/3
of all questions of each type. Most exam question databanks will have
approximately 250 questions.
If there are 10 sections in the course related to the exam, then it is
possible to see each section would, on average, contain 25 questions – of which
1/3 would be memorization questions, 1/3 concept questions and 1/3 application
Your job is to come up with 8 questions of each type for each section.
Your questions will look a lot like the final product you will see in the
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